Leadership and political participation

Photo: UN Women/ Roma Baidaus
Photo: UN Women/ Roma Baidaus

Across Moldova, women are under-represented in leading positions in the government, politics, business and civil society – despite their proven abilities as leaders and agents of change, and their right to participate equally in democratic governance.

Women's representation in Moldovan politics and decision-making is below international benchmarks. Women hold 22 per cent of seats in the Parliament, and 31 per cent in the Government, including the Bashkan of UTA Gagauzia. Women are also underrepresented at the local level holding 20.6 per cent of mayor mandates, 18.55 per cent of the seats in district and municipal councils, and 30.04 per cent in local councils. Roma women and women with disabilities are virtually excluded from representation in public life. Women are also under-represented in decision-making bodies in the private and civil society sectors.

UN Women in Action in Moldova

In Moldova, UN Women works with the government, Parliament and civil society to promote women’s voting rights, increase political representation and develop gender-informed policies. We provide training for women political candidates and offer civic education on gender equality.

We are guided by international commitments made to women by the government: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) upholds women’s right to participate in public life, while the Beijing+20 Platform for Action calls for removing barriers to equal participation.

Specifically, CEDAW committee recommendations for the Republic of Moldova from 2013 called for legislating quotas for candidates on political parties’ lists and in areas where women are underrepresented or disadvantaged. The recommendations also intensified efforts to enhance the economic and political empowerment of women in rural areas.

UN Women in Moldova collaborates with the UN country team and works with civil society on programmes that support greater political participation by women throughout society. 

The joint UN Women-UNDP Women in Politics (WiP) initiative, Enhancing Women’s Political Representation through improved capacity and enhanced support in Moldova, works to increase women’s participation in Moldova politics and decision-making.

Funded by the Government of Sweden, WiP:

  • Supports women as candidates and voters at all stages of national and local elections, and provides support after they are elected;
  • Advocates for legislation and policies to promote women in decision-making;
  • Supports capacity development for media, civil society organizations;
  • Works with political parties and communities to nominate women candidates;
  • Enhances the dialogue between women citizens and Member of Parliament;
  • Identifies male champions within Moldova and includes men in its advocacy and training.

Recent achievements in increasing women’s leadership and political participation include:

  • Voter education campaigns for 2014 parliamentary and 2015 local elections that reach 442,096 people and increase Roma voter turnout in seven targeted communities by 60 per cent
  • Training nearly 1,000 women candidates and helping elect 98 women – eight mayors and 90 local councillors, including Moldova’s first two Roma women local councillors
  • Providing expertise and advocacy that led to government approval of a package of legislative amendments for a gender quota in politics and decision-making
  • Joint platforms with CSOs, media and donors to increase women in decision-making
  • Training nearly 200 elected women local and district councillors in local council functions, finance, fundraising and communications.